Come out come out, No use in hiding, Come now come now, Can you not see?

Posted: April 15, 2013 in Eating Disorder, Life

There’s no place here
What were you expecting
Not room for both
Just room for me
So you will lay your arms down
Yes I will call this home
Away away
You have been banished~Don’t Drink the Water, Dave Matthews Band

Although this song is really about the early settlers taking the land from the native americans, I find myself completely relating to this song with regards to my Eating Disorder.

If you think about it – an ED takes over who you were and the person you used to be – there’s no room for both people, just room for the one…the evil person that becomes selfish and self-centered about how important it is to weigh a few pounds less or eat a few meals less or even not eat that cookie because it is SO big of a deal if you do.  In a way the ED makes itself at home in your body and banishes the former you…..at least, that’s what happened to me.

I mentioned in a previous post that I met up with a bunch of women I lived with my sophomore year of college – the year my obsession with exercise, food, and being thinner began.  I think I lost nearly 30 pounds that year.  All I can tell you is what I remember from my doctor(s) visits.  In the Fall of that year I weighed in at 148 and in the Spring that year I weighed in at 118 (I’m about 5’7″ s0 that’s pretty thin for my frame).  My obsession with the scale was only part of it.  Would you believe I actually remember having the conversation with my doctor too:

Doctor:  You know you lost 30 lbs?  Were you trying to?

Me:  Yes.  I’m aware.  I’m just watching what I eat and exercising more.

Doctor:  But you’re not trying to lose anymore weight, right?  Are you eating enough?

Me:  (lying) Oh, no – I’m not trying to lose anymore weight.

I was conscious – even then – that I was doing it to my body.  It wasn’t until I began lashing out at people and selectively secluded myself from group activities that I even (now realize that was a red flag) knew I was in the throes of an eating disorder.

Now, nearly 13 years later in recovery, I still have my moments where I am dismayed and upset with my appearance.  And I understand – from others perspectives – that I should not be complaining or upset with my appearance.  The fact that I can actually believe that I am not fat – even when I feel fat (let’s be honest ladies, we all have those days – bloating, pms, etc) – is a MAJOR accomplishment.

What I hope to have other people understand is that despite being 13 years into recovery (and it’s an ongoing process so you’re never fully recovered – much like an alcoholic or drug addict), is to show that yes I might have some bad days or even weeks but truthfully I am no longer in the place I was in 2000.  I am more of the Katie I was when I was in HS, today – than I ever was in college.  That’s not to say there weren’t parts of the Katie from HS that were present in college (specifically my freshman year), but I am focused on different things.

Often times, ED begin something else in our lives are out of control.  Control is a HUGE buzz word in ED world.  I still have OCD issues but in different ways – scheduling mainly – but have gotten SO much better.  I’ll post about that some time too….but I digress…..  The stability that used to exist in my life disappeared.  I wasn’t happy and I thought that controlling my weight/food intake would make me happy.  I, like so many other young women, believed that if I was “skinny” I would be happy.  Truth was…that wasn’t how I was going to find happiness.

I came across a Huffington Post article about stress and eating disorders.  All 6 points they mention were me.  Totally me.  And it’s true.  Colleges are breeding grounds for ED’s.  I thought I kept mine hidden but there was no way my 11 suitemates didn’t notice I was losing weight and was withdrawn from our social gatherings.

My boyfriend in college knew, my roommate knew it…my family knew it.  I had been transformed into a different person.  I was banished from my original self.  She was still inside of me but I couldn’t locate her.  The disease had taken over and it was too strong for me – at the time.

The thing is – Eating Disorders can be and are a scary thing.  People suffer from them without even realizing it.  The obsession of staying at the gym for 2+ hours every day because you “need” to or because it “clears your mind” or because it’s “the only thing that makes you happy” or because it’s “the only thing you have that you can call ‘yours'” on a daily basis.  It’s insane.  We weren’t meant to spend that much time doing physical exercise to our body.  (Side note: the only exceptions are, of course, professional athletes)

Nowadays I think back on the time when I was at my worst: Waking up at 7 for 8am class, going to class for three hours, going right to the gym from 11:15-2:00ish and then FINALLY eating something – probably veggies or fruit or popcorn.  I’d then wait another 3 hours before I had “dinner” and that’d be what I’d eat…every day.

I think back on this and I have a few thoughts:

1.  How is that possible?

2.  I am too old to even try that shit.  I’d fall over after 2 hours of no food.

3.  Even if I wanted to try to workout for 2+ hours every day – I just don’t have time for it.  There are so many more things going on in my life now.  Of course the argument there is I was involved in EVERYTHING in college so how did I find time to do it then?  I don’t know.  There were more hours in the day.  Ha.

4.  What was I thinking?!

5. Thank god I got help.  I was on a one-way train ride to death.  No joke.

And for the people who are reading this that know me post ED, you wouldn’t even have recognized the Katie from this time.  She was just a different person with different priorities.

These days, I still struggle with the negative body image BUT ONLY ON DAYS WHEN SOMETHING ELSE IS BOTHERING ME.  I realized when I started treatment and therapy that as soon as something was difficult, I immediately resorted to the negative self talk and irrational body.  I am SO much better than I ever was and even on my bad days now I am not even close to my best days while amidst the ED (if you followed that logic).

All I can tell you is that all of this…everything…is a process

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